The running back-deficient New York Jets could use Tim Tebow in the position, coach Rex Ryan said, although the team had not practiced him at the spot a few days before its game Sunday against New England.
Backup running backs Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight missed two practices this week because of injury, opening a question to Ryan about the option of using Tebow as a ball-carrier.
“That’s a possibility,” Ryan said. “The thing about Tim, with him being a football player like we’ve always talked about, by playing quarterback he knows all the positions and so, can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end, whatever? I think the answer is yes.”
Powell injured his shoulder in Sunday’s win over the Colts, and McKnight hurt his ankle soon after.
Tebow, officially the team’s backup quarterback behind Mark Sanchez, has 64 rushing yards this season, but almost all out of the Wildcat formation after a direct snap. He gained muscle mass over the offseason to help block in his new role with the punt-protection team. So although technically a quarterback, Tebow has acquired the physique for contact and has been used to block on offense as well.
Tebow has played running back already this season, taking a couple of snaps at the position against the 49ers, but none of his carries have come as a back. They’ve all come from the shotgun as part of the Wildcat and read-option package.
“I would be ready for whatever I would be asked to do, absolutely,” Tebow said Wednesday.
But to be exclusively a running back?
“I don’t know,” Tebow said. “It’s not something that’s been talked (about) or planned or worked on at all, so probably not.”
Belichick, speaking Wednesday, said Tebow is “really another running back for them.”